Friday, May 24

Delhi High Court: Married Women Can’t Claim Rape by Live-In Partner on False Marriage Pretext

The Delhi High Court has ruled that a married woman cannot falsely accuse her live-in partner of rape on the pretext of marriage. The court emphasized that consensual physical relations between adults, even outside of marriage, cannot be labeled as rape if the woman later decides to marry another person without ending her previous relationship.

The Delhi High Court has ruled that sexual relationships between two consenting adults, both of whom are already married to other partners, do not qualify for legal protection. Justice Swarna Kanta Sharma explained that if an unmarried individual is misled into a sexual relationship with someone who falsely promises marriage and is believed to be legally eligible for marriage, it could be considered a rape offense. However, when the victim is already married to another person and is therefore not legally eligible to marry someone else, the claim of being deceived into a sexual relationship under the pretext of marriage cannot be sustained, the judge stated.


Delhi High Court: Married Women Can't Claim Rape by Live-In Partner on False Marriage Pretext
Delhi High Court: Married Women Can’t Claim Rape by Live-In Partner on False Marriage Pretext


“Hence, the protections and legal recourse provided by Section 376 of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) cannot be extended to a victim who did not possess the legal right to marry the individual with whom she had a sexual relationship.”

The court made it clear that Section 376 is applicable when the victim can establish that they were deceived into a sexual relationship by someone legally eligible to marry them. This interpretation arose in a case involving two individuals cohabiting in a live-in relationship while still being legally married to other partners.

In this case, the woman accused the man of engaging in sexual relations with her under the false promise of marriage. The FIR was registered under various sections of the IPC. The court considered a “live-in relationship agreement” between the parties, where the complainant had committed not to file an FIR or any claim against the man.

It was revealed that the woman was already married, and her divorce case was pending in court. She claimed that the man had initially represented himself as unmarried and promised to marry her. When she discovered his existing marriage, he swore an affidavit stating his intention to obtain a divorce and marry her. The man contested the authenticity of the affidavits.

The court, in quashing the FIR, emphasized that the man could not have legally married the woman, considering her existing marital status. Therefore, her belief in his promise of marriage was not legally valid, as she was ineligible to marry him due to her existing marriage.

Justice Sharma also emphasized the legal and moral aspects of such relationships, stating that courts should refrain from imposing their moral judgments on consenting adults, as long as their choices do not contravene existing legal frameworks.

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